Anyone doing video production knows it can get really expensive. Not only does the equipment cost a good amount, along with the expenses of traveling, permits, paying for actors, and everything else that goes along with shooting, there’s also the expenses and time involved in post production. This can include video editing programs, compositing programs, 3d modeling programs, and several others depending on what you’re hoping to achieve as an end product.
For our own productions we usually use Adobe’s Premiere Pro for editing and Adobe’s After Effects for compositing, special effects, and animated sequences. While these are great programs, we’ve never been totally satisfied the color correcting plugins that come built in. One program we’ve always seen raved about for its color correcting powers was BlackMagic’s DaVinci Resolve.
Upon downloading the program we realized it was much more than just a program focused on color correction, although that tends to be what it’s known for. DaVinci Resolve has a built in video editor for editing your videos before working on the colors. Even the color aspect adds a ton of different options from power windows to gradients, motion tracking, transitions, LUTS, and so much more. For those still working with Adobe’s CS6 version of After Effects and Premiere, DaVinci Resolve beats their green screen capabilities hands down. When the editing and correcting is done, just like Adobe it can render out the final project into a bunch of different formats. It’s a great replacement for Premiere Pro, without the cost.
This isn’t to say you get a full working product with the free version. There is an upgraded studio version that adds extra capabilities such a 4k output, multi-user collaborative workflow, etc. You can see a breakdown of what each version offers here. For most people though, the free version should be all you need. Another drawback is that it does tend to be a heavy program that eats at the processor so you’ll need a decently powered computer and a good amount of RAM to run it without any issues. Finally, while it comes with a manual that walks you through all of it’s workings, it’s not as easy to find video tutorials on the web like you can with Adobe’s products and there might be a small learning curve for those who aren’t familiar with node based editing.
While DaVinci will handle you’re editing and color correcting, it doesn’t have the capabilities for compositing like Adobe After Effects does. While round tripping from Premiere Pro to DaVinci Resolve isn’t too difficult, there are a few more hurdles to overcome with round tripping After Effects to DaVinci that we haven’t really looked into yet. One program that gives us hope to maybe jump off of the Adobe bandwagon all together is another program by Blackmagic called Fusion 8. While we haven’t really played with Fusion 8 yet, it does look like it has potential to be an Adobe After Effects replacement. Like DaVinci Resolve, it’s offered for free with an upgraded version that they charge for. It also comes with a manual, although video tutorials on its usage are even harder to find than the DaVinci Resolve ones are.
So if you’re looking for a free video editor and compositor, these are two programs you’ll want to check out. For any small video production company, or those looking to dabble in indie productions, these are programs that will likely cover 95% or more of your needs with draining a single penny from your pocketbook. Hopefully in the feature we can offer some tutorial videos ourselves of how the programs work and the amazing capabilities they have.